I bought an empty 30 Gal. barrel of Potassium Hydroxide and Sodium Hypochlorite - CIP 150 - Wondering if it is SAFE to use for the collection of Maple Tree Syrup? (Label say the white plastic barrel had been rinsed 3 times - however it does say that the previous contents (above) were corrosive. - AND, I plan on rinsing it a few more times) Answers? Suggestions?

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    $\begingroup$ As an iron clad rule chemical containers should never be reused for foodstuffs. It is an bit overkill but guessing that reuse would be ok is just nuts. $\endgroup$ – MaxW Feb 19 '18 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ A more detailed explanation of your answer, as a possible chemist or whatever, would be appreciated. Otherwise - sounds like a anti-maple-syrup-corporate-lackey answer. LOL $\endgroup$ – Øle Feb 19 '18 at 18:31
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    $\begingroup$ Maple syrup lover here, no affiliation with any producers or anti-maple syrup organizations. The safe bet is to err on the side of caution and buy a cheap alternative without the dodgy chemical pedigree. However, the stuff that was allegedly in the barrel is water soluble, and several rinses should clear it, but don't name me in your lawsuit if you singe your trachea: I'd want to be the guy doing the rinsing, scrubbing, and lightly neutralizing residual base with an acid wash. $\endgroup$ – Todd Minehardt Feb 20 '18 at 2:45
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because on-site experts should be consulted for questions like these. $\endgroup$ – Jan Feb 20 '18 at 9:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Øle I don't know where you get the lackey feeling from MaxW, but what he wrote is the answer from any chemist to such a question. Don't ever use containers which were used for chemical appliances or $\endgroup$ – Fl.pf. Feb 22 '18 at 7:31

While I also consider the question somewhat off-topic, I would still like to answer here. In a time in which people eat tide pods for fun it seems kind of necessary...

So, for general information, regardless of what chemical substances were inside the container or what you plan to put into, you should never (re)use containers for chemicals to store food!

Here are some reasons why:

  • Standard food containers are readily available, do not cost much, and are much better suited to store and conserve food
  • you are sending a disastrous message to children if you are taking food from a container with chemical warning symbols on it
  • there is a chance that you mix up your food container with one that contains what is actually on the label
  • you might not be able to remove all the previous content from the container by rinsing it with water, e.g. if the previous substance is non-soluble in water or if it is greasy. Minuscule quantities of the remaining substance may be toxic or hazardous
  • the substance may have changed over time if it was stored for a prolonged time or under inadequate conditions, like exposure to heat, moisture or sunlight. Products may precipitate or form films on the inside of the container.
  • you do not know the history of the container. Maybe the previous owner used up the original content and then used the empty container to store chemical waste. This is also not a good practice, but still more common than to store food!

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